|I've hit the paywall.|
The New York Times unveiled its paywall
plan back in March. After reading 20 free articles per month, the paywall kicks in, with a number of different subscription options
. As you might expect, there was a lot
, and people
who said it would fail
. Not long after the launch, we saw a rush of articles explaining
how to get around
the paywall without a subscription
Almost six months later, it appears the doubters were wrong
, and The New York Times was right
. Readers are
willing to pay for access to online articles.
Earlier this month, Poynter published a fantastic article on the psychology of paywalls, answering that very question.
In his article, Jeff Sonderland
boils the reason for The New York Times' success down to three factors: convenience
If it's always been possible on any given day to pick up the local paper somewhere for free, why did people ever pay? Not because they had to, but because it was easier to get it placed on their doorstep every morning (convenience), because they felt if they were going to read it every day they ought to pay (duty), or because they wanted to support the institution and people that produced it (appreciation). Those are the same three reasons someone might subscribe to The New York Times' digital content. Not because they have to, but because it's easier than hacking your way around it every day, because they remind you occasionally that you should, or just because you want to support the work they do.
Sonderland's fascinating article gives the clearest reasoning I've seen so far on why The New York Times' approach is working. Whether it's because of convenience, appreciation or duty, I, for one, find it encouraging that hundreds of thousands of people are paying for online access to The New York Times instead of sneaking around it.
is a fantastic site. If you're not familiar, it's the much hyped
question-and-answer site (think Yahoo! Answers, with some Digg-like functionality, popular among the techie and early adopter crowd). Last December and January, it was basically the only thing anyone was talking about
because they came out of the gate with A-list tech question answerers
like AOL co-founder Steve Case
, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and co-founder Dustin Moskivitz, and heavy hitters from Google, Twitter and Foursquare. Heck, even actor and social entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher uses Quora
There are a lot of folks who will tell you Quora failed
, or at least hasn't lived up to its hype
. That's not what this post is about. I've found it to be a great resource for research, and deeper thoughts
on issues in the tech industry.
However, outside of the search function and following Topic Groups, finding good threads on Quora was a bit of a pain, in my opinion. Earlier this month they introduced Quora Browse
, which is a step in the right direction on curated content.
The other day, I caught a post on the BestVendor blog that is a collection of the "Top Quora Entries Every Startup CEO Should Read."
From the best questions on fundraising and building and managing a team, to growing your product and preparing for shifts, BestVendor has pulled together the best of the best. They even pulled together a few threads on getting exposure, though they probably could have added a bullet that simply read "call SpeakerBox and be done with it" (admittedly, I'm biased).
If you're part of the startup community, BestVendor's collection is worth checking out. Even if you're not, there's probably a few threads on Quora right now that are worth your while.
I don’t think there are many who would contest thatEnterprise 2.0 has the potential to help transform an organizations’ internalcommunications – encouraging information sharing, motivating discussion, streamliningprocesses, and increasing efficiency amongst company employees, clients, and/orcustomers. I feel like we’ve beenhearing about Enterprise 2.0 for sometime now, but some statistics havesurprised me about its use. According tocurrent Forresterresearch, “less than 30% of the workforce uses social technology” – aseemingly low number, if you ask me. Theresearch also pointed to growth, however, noting “42% of firms are making newinvestments in Enterprise 2.0 software” making a strong argument that organizationsare getting on board and seeing the advantages in Web 2.0 technologies.
Despite your goals for developing internal communities, itis important to make sure information is being exchanged to effectively achieveyour bottom line. Similarly to Web-basedsocial media, it would seem logical that the more information sharing that istaking place on your internal network, the more useful it is to the company ororganization. However, in the sameright, it is just as important to pay close attention to what is being sharedand by whom and the effect it is having on your community.
Recently, one of my favorite bloggers published a postaddressing a potentially over-looked issue: Mr.Popularity and Your Enterprise 2.0 Community. Is it possible that your most frequentcontributor could be hindering the goals of your online assembly? Check out hisblog to see what questions you should be asking yourself about your enterprises’biggest fan and hear a real-world example of how they could be deterring conversation–It may surprise you!
exceptfor when they save you a major amount of time.
I wascatching up on some tech reading on the Atlantic today and was shocked to seethat 90%of Googlers (ie: people) dont know how to useCTRL+F! I mean how do they find the info theyre looking for? Read thewhole page? Ok, thatmay be going a little too far, but I still find it unbelievable that peopledont use the find shortcut when looking at webpages or even documents. One ofthe first things I did after SBX switched from PCs to Macs was Google a list ofshortcuts. While everyprogram may have slightly different shortcuts, a few staples CTRL+C andCTRL+V (replace CTRL with Command for Macs) seem to cross borders. MicrosoftWord has over 247 Melanie Pinola has compiled them here: Googledoc and PDF. I regularlyuse shortcuts for find, copy, paste, bold, italics, undo, hyperlink, selectall, screen grab, and probably more functions that arent coming to mind rightnow. I think they save time, and Im amazed when Im working with people whodont use them. Do you useshortcuts? If so, which ones? If not, why? **As a sidenote, my reading also turned me on to this great site that is more of a brainteaser than a way to practice googling: AGoogleADay.com.We might have an addiction, and Stephanie is the supreme googler. Enjoy.
|"We'll try to make up some time in the air...? Why don't we just go as fast as we can all the time?" -- Jerry Seinfeld (Image Source: Public Domain)|
Katie and I flew out to Detroit last week -- our laptops in tow.
These days, most airlines offer some sort of Wi-Fi-in-the-Sky option. But as a rule, its prohibitively expensive and/or difficult to purchase. Pay $4.99 per minute. Sign a seven-page service agreement. Agree to 7 months of Bowflex
magazine. Thanks, but no thanks.
So how excited were Katie and I to find 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi on our Delta flight, courtesy of Diet Coke?
No joke, it was just about the best promotion Ive ever seen. The presentation, the offer, it all worked perfectly. The log-in screen even re-directed to Diet Cokes Facebook page. How clever is that? If I werent so anti-Facebook, I would have liked the aspertame out of that page.
Usually, companies sponsor things I dont care about (or, just as misguidedly -- they sponsor things I take for granted). See, I dont care if Cheetos sponsors the Oscars, because obviously someones going to. Its not like we wont have the Oscars this year because Cheetos couldnt pony up the dough.
But when a company gives me something valuable AND unexpected, the impact is enormous.
Now even better would have been a sponsor with some actual tie-in to the free Wi-Fi. The soda/Internet pairing is a little random. Wouldnt this be a natural promotion for a company that works in the consumer wireless space?
But here's what Id really like to see:
Today were going to forgo the flight safety video, courtesy of Red Bull.
|Click on image to enlarge|With thenews of Steve Jobs stepping down last night and naming Tim Cook as CEO of Apple, I felt it was only fitting to post this infographicfrom The Atlantic on the history of Apple and the many products it has released. I haveowned or used a number of them myself the Apple IIe (well, that was myparents but I loved playing Family Feud and Oregon Trail on it), a blue iMac and the fun hockey puck mouse, a fewversions of the iPod and the MacBook that Im writing this on (thanks to SBX). How manyhave you used/owned?
Thanks for your comment. I don't dispute there are instances where information regarding material announcements must be kept very close to the vest and shared with only a certain group of people, and perhaps I should have clarified that. However, this does not necessarily pertain to, for example, new product announcements or certain other types of corporate news. I maintain that it would be in the company's best interest to share information on those types of announcements with communications teams as early in the process as possible, so everyone is on the same page in terms of the appropriate messaging.
Also, while I agree agency PR professionals who working on client accounts should defer to their clients, this post was not written purely with PR agency representatives in mind. It also applies to internal corporate communications professionals who are all too often kept in the dark until the very last moment - or even beyond that - when it comes to non-material news events (trust me, I used to be one of those people!).
Could not said it better myself, Now that I said that I need players to out and play!!check us out
There are SEC disclosure requirements about who has access to specific information prior to material announcements. You are whining without acknowledging there are legitimate reasons companies and there executives must do this.
If you are asked a question you do not know the answer to you should be deferring to your client in the first place or already know what the company's response is to industry speculation.
Just saw this story
on Business Insider that talks about how many PR people are kept out of the loop in regards to issues that are transpiring in the executive offices of the companies they represent. Apparently the website ran a story, based on information from sources, that was denied by a corporate spokesperson only to eventually be proven true. Business Insiders take is that this happens all too frequently. When it does, it puts the reputation of PR managers at risk and leaves reporters in a difficult position, not knowing whether the info they are receiving is correct or not.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, corporate communications representatives are often some of the last to know about major company initiatives that are about to take place. And if theyre the last to know, well, you can imagine how far down the information ladder consultants at PR firms might be. This poses an obvious problem for company spokespeople. On the one hand, if a reporter comes to them with a question even if its just a rumor theyd like to be able to give them something thats honest, or at the least doesnt hurt the business or their own reputation (even if that something is saying, Sorry, we dont comment on rumors.). At best, communications professionals should be brought up to speed on corporate developments early, so appropriate messaging can be formed. If that doesnt happen, a company runs the risk of having erroneous information reported and that doesnt benefit anyone.
To be clear, the spokesperson used as an example in the Business Insider story should have probably not responded, or at the very least made sure they had their facts straight before stating an unequivocal no. But the point remains: CEOs and C-suite , your PR people are there to positively enhance public awareness about your company. Theyre not going to jeopardize a major deal or product launch intentionally, or harm your businesses reputation, but not having all the facts makes it difficult for them to achieve their goals
which just so happen to be your goals as well.
-- Pete Larmey
Its no surprise that Americans love social media sites. I personally have a profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google +. But what do we as Americans like to use these social sites to do and say? I came across the infographic below that is based on a study done by social media strategy firm Hasai. It both caught my attention and managed to amuse me a bit with the results of what exactly social media tells us about American society.
Possibly the most surprising finding is the amount of people that seem to use Tagged, a social network which focuses on having its members meet new people through social games, friend suggestions, browsing profiles, group interests. Before today, I had never heard of the site, so I was a little surprised that it came in second as the most logged in to network behind Facebook.
Also surprising/amusing is the fact that North Dakota is the most social state. While I would not have guessed that was the case, the more I thought about it is there really that much else to do in North Dakota? (Sorry North Dakota I kid!). And perhaps the most amusing finding of all? 63 million active users spend an average of 15 minutes a day playing Farmville! That is a lot of fake chicken coops.
Clients listen up! While it may seem as though Americans primarily use social networking sites to communicate with friends and colleagues, and to follow celebrities, according to this study, 4 out of 10 Americans on social media platforms are following products, services and brands. Considering that over half of all Americans are on at least one social network, that is a hefty amount of people who may be checking out your brand.
So after looking at the infographic, are there any stats that jump out at you?
Last week, I was standing in a retail store contemplating whether or not to buy the adorable, yet
over-priced Ella Moss dress
I had recently fallen in love with. After struggling with the choice for quite sometime, I put it back in its spot on the rack and tried to walk away. Just then, I received an email on my phone. To distract myself from the pain of leaving the perfect fall silk tie dress behind, I checked it immediately. To my surprise, the email was from the exact store I was currently standing in with an advertisement for 20% off my purchase. And to think, I was considering paying full price!
I recently came across a blog post announcing a new study which states that Mobile Users' Interests Trump Location For Ads
and thought back to my experience. Perhaps it wasnt sheer coincidence that I had received an ad for a store I frequently follow while I was in local proximity. It is almost frightening that advertisers are constantly sorting through loads of real-time data to target their perfect consumer. However, since this incident I have been paying closer attention to advertisements I receive. They are almost never spam and almost always about a product or service I have been actively researching or monitoring or have opted into receiving information about their services. It is possible that advertisements are becoming more helpful and less of a menace?
Check out some of the interesting stats from the study:
60% of smartphone users polled said they would rather get offers tailored to their interests;
17% preferred ads based on time of day;
14% by location and;
10% wanted ads suited to their lifestyle.
TV is getting involved with mobile advertising, too! Read more about it: Television's Next Frontier: Mobile
If youve ever done a media interview, and wondered why your PR rep insists on being on the phone or being present, Im going to share a story with you that highlights exactly why we are there. Granted, this story centers around the fictional character Tommy Gavin from the TV show Rescue Me,
its still a good lesson in why we are there, silently in the background.
***Spoiler Alert Im going to briefly recap part of episode 4 of season 7 of Rescue Me. ***Tommy Gavin
, a foul-mouthed, alcoholic member of the FDNY is not one to shy away from controversy. He speaks his mind with no regard for whom he might hurt. However, when the women in his life (his wife, his ex-mistress) and his crew convince him to participate in a TV interview honoring some of the heros of 9/11 (i.e., members of the FDNY who gave their lives that day) Tommy is rightfully skeptical. However, the firefighter hes supposed to memorialize is his best friend and cousin (the dead husband of his ex-mistress).
The interview starts out fine enough. Questions are on target and Tommys playing nice (or as nice as Tommy Gavin can). Then things start to take a turn for the worse. The reporter starts to go off script. Suddenly shes asking questions that have nothing to do with Tommys deceased cousin or 9/11. Tommy, in true Tommy fashion, goes off on the reporter speaking his mind, giving her and the camera the middle finger and ultimately raising the ire of headquarters once the piece aired.
Now heres my question. If everyone knows Tommy is a loose cannon, why did no one step in to stop the interview? The rest of his crew stood back and watched. Nobody intervened. Additionally, if this interview was cleared by headquarters why oh why was there no public relations or public affairs rep on site? Someone should have stepped in to stop the interview. Someone should have noticed the reporter was going off script, asking questions irrelevant to the story they were doing, and intervened.
This is why we, your public relations reps, are there, silently (and sometimes not so silently) in the background. Were there to make sure the interview goes smoothly. To make sure the interviewer and interview stay on track. And lastly, were there to intervene if and when its necessary to protect not only your reputation, but also the organization you ultimately represent.
This pastweekend I went to see Rise of the Planetof the Apes. Ive been a big fan ofthe films since I was a kid, so even in the middle of packing for a move,heading out to the theater on opening weekend was a no-brainer for me.
|Note: Image copyright 2011 20th Century Fox|The moviewas entertaining; smart, even. And inthe midst of all the screeching, chest-thumping and musings aboutman-vs.-chimp, I had a weird, random thought:
What if thechimps had gone about their conquest a different way? What if for example they worked on theirPR skills?
After all,the problems the apes faced werent so different than what a lot of companiesrun up against. Primately
primarily they were misunderstood. People didnt really know what to make ofthem. A lot of this comes down to thefact they werent able to articulate their messages correctly (hard to do whenyoure relying on the ooh-ooh-ooh-aah-aah-aah form of communication). They were also up against a well-established,well-funded competitor (scientists). Italso didnt help that the new-and-improved apes were still trying to figure outwho they were, developing their identity as they evolved. Soundfamiliar?
I dont think its a spoiler to say that, in the end, things dont turn out tooshabby for the apes. But man, did theygo about things the hard way! If onlythey had used some of those newly-generated brain cells to work on acommunications plan it may have kept things from going completely bananas.
Next timewell talk about how Harry Potter and theDeathly Hallows is not in any way, shape or form related to ineffectivecrisis communications
Earlierthis week Federal Computer News ran an interesting story headlined 3Reasons You Can Ignore Google+. The article pointedout that, in its second week in operation, Google+ traffic declined somewhatsignificantly, from 1.86 million visitors to 1.76 million. The reporter drew several conclusions fromthe decline: that the service is facingstiff (perhaps insurmountable) competition from Facebook, its notsignificantly different in any meaningful way, and foremost that people aresimply suffering from social media fatigue.
It sohappens that I agree with the reporter on each of those points. BUT
I also have three reasons why it may befar too early to write off Google+ as a viable, useful network.
- Theresreally not much to do there
yet. Due to Googlessomewhat closed approach to Google+ -- which included, at least initially, grantingaccess via invitation only and not letting businesses set up profiles theplace is still somewhat of a barren digital wasteland. Chances are most your friends arent onthere, and we know the businesses youre interested in arent. Even if they are, theyre not really doingmuch with it. But again, itsearly. And it is still the fastestgrowing social network weve ever seen. While its too soon to embrace Google+, its also way too soon to beginignoring it.
- Google+is this summers blockbuster. Think of theGoogle+ launch in movie-going terms: big-budget summer blockbusters usuallyopen huge and then fall significantly in their second week. They level out after the initial pent-updemand and frenzy is met. That doesntmean theyre not hits. It just means theinitial buzz may have worn off somewhat. The telltale signs of success for Google+ will not happen in days orweeks, but months, perhaps years.
- Andspeaking of buzz
Remember Google Buzz? If you do, its likely because you recall it being a big-timefailure. Do you really want to betagainst Google getting this social media thing wrong again? Remember what they did with Android whentheir initial mobile sales approach failed, they re-evaluated, recalibrated,and came out swinging and successful.
So while Google+may not necessarily be multiplying as fast as it was in its first few days, Ithink it may be far too early to dismiss it as a minus.